Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Martin Mere

On Sunday we headed up the M6 to Martin Mere the main reason being the Puddle Jumping for Gemma but reading the sightings board the night before I noted that Woodcock had been reported in with a note saying to ask in the In Focus Shop.
So upon arrival we did just that, not long after we were watching a at rest just the other side of the bank along the main path just before the Janet Kear hide.
Although we have seen Woodcock before we have never been so close to one so it was great watching the bird.






From the Janet Kear hide the usual "small" birds were visiting the feeders Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow and the usual Finches.



Popping in at the Discovery hide we saw the as expect wild fowl species with a few Ruff and Godwits passing through.







A Snipe was trying its best to stay hidden in a small patch of reeds although it did come out to briefly feed, popping down to one of the screens where the old Swan Link hide use to be allowed a quick shot to be grabbed.


Heading down to the Ron Barker hide it was time for one last camouflaged bird this time a Tawny Owl roosting in an Ivy covered tree by the Kingfisher hide, we couldn't spot it but a more Eagle eyed lady pointed the bird out to us.
From the Ron Barker hide we saw the first returning Avocets for the year at the reserve.

The afternoon was spent doing Gemma based activities before the pleasant drive down the M6.


Sunday, 29 January 2017

Wirral Coastal Wander

As high tide on the Wirral was of a reasonable size and at around lunch time we decided to headed off that way and hope the rain held off (which it did).

First port of call was Kirby Marine Lake, we soon found a pair of Merganser out on the lake with a few Turnstone feeding around the shore line near the canoe club. Further along by the vantage point a large group of Dunlin and Redshank had taken up the boulders as their roost site they were giving great views and ever so often a group would fly in, a fantastic site and a great start to the day.







 We then moved the short distance to Hoylake Life Boat station this is one of our favourite spots to watch a high tide as it gives you somewhere to hide and great views to boot. Here the tide was moving in large numbers of Knot and Oystcatchers with a few Dunlin and Curlew thrown in for good measure. Then some movement on the strand line caught my eye, it was only a Snow Bunting! this was a great little find as we do love these birds and Lesley hadn't seen one for the year.













 As the tide was now well and truly in we headed off to have lunch at New Brighton and to grab a few Purple Sandpiper for the bag. We saw 6 birds huddled up with Turnstone and Redshank.


 Lastly we called in at Burton Mere we didn't manage to see the Water Pipit but we did spot the Snipe that was trying its best to blend in with the reeds.




Sunday, 22 January 2017

Giving into Temptation

This weekend we finally broke and gave into temptation that is to say we finally headed for the Cotswolds and the Blue Rock Thrush that had taken a liking to Stow in the Wold. At least the bird has class and not tuned up in some council estate.
We don't usually travel this far to see a bird but as Slimbridge was not too far away and we have not been for quite a while we decided to head down South for the day.

The Blue Rock Thrush soon popped into sight after we arrived meaning we only had to wait around 5 minutes after grabbing a few shots and as it had flown off it was off to Slimbridge.




All of the parks for Gem unfortunately were either closed or too muddy so it was just quick play and a look at the Flamingos tucked away before it was back to birding.
From the Kingfisher hide we saw White Fronted Geese which was a nice year tick but nothing else really that was new. From the Zeiss hide we saw a very showy Water Rail allowing me to grab a few shots.









Around the main body of the collection we saw a pair of Coots having areal scrap.



Soon after we bumped into some local birders (local to use that is) strange where you might bumped into some fellow Staffs birders.

After a nice lunch in the cafe we did a few more hides adding to our collection Bewick Swan, Little Stint and Crane.



Monday, 9 January 2017

Dusky Thrush and Bean Geese

On Saturday we decided to not travel to far especially as Lesley took a rather nasty tumble during the week and is rather shaken.
First port of call was just down the road to Whitmore to try and see the 3 Tundra Bean Geese that have arrived in the flooded area just off Bent Lane, well it was so murky you couldn't make out the far side of the pools, so we thought we would call back latter in the day and head off to Beeley for the Dusky Thrush via Newcastle to hopefully bag a few Waxwing. No joy with the Waxwing just a few Redwings and Mistle Thrush in the trees so it was off to Derbyshire. Crossing the moors we left the fog and drizzle behind and enjoyed watching the Dusky Thrush in a field off Pig Lane. With that in the bag it was off to nearby Beeley Moor for the Great Grey Shrike our luck wasn't in though we had just missed the bird which had been on show but had disappeared over the ridge. We waited while we ate lunch for it to reappear but no joy.
So we made our way back home again try for Waxwing in Newcastle again no joy, we had also arrived back to fog and drizzle for once the weather was better up on the moors than in the town. The Tundra Bean Geese were on show at Whitmore but involved getting rather wet in the process of seeing them. Strangely enough Lesley didn't fancy leaving the warmth and dry of the car.

So on Sunday we headed back to Whitmore rather murky again but no where as bad a Saturday so Lesley was quite happy to get out of the car and managed to see them before they disappeared out of sight I imagine over the bank towards the stream.
We tried again for Waxwing around Hanley and Kidsgrove but no luck but at least we saw the most important target birds allowing Lesley 2 new life ticks and 1 for me.


Monday, 2 January 2017

Llandudno

After another failed attempt to try and see the Black Throated Thush at St Asaph (it looks like it has now left) Gem and me headed off to Llandudno West Shore to try and find some Snow Bunting, we found the place Ok after a few pointers while at St Asaph.
A chap informed the birds were just down the beach, which was quite busy a nice little spot it would nice in the Summer for a relax. Gem entertained herself while I took a few shots of the three Snow Bunting there.















We then headed off to the near by B & Q to see the Waxwing although we just managed one bird but its on the year list now. Turns out there were loads just down the coast but thats life.




On the way home we called into Rhos to try and see some Purple Sandpipers not a single one was on show, not a single wader at all on the sea defences although there were some out on the break water.

Finished the day off with Xmas Pudding ice-cream at Snugburys.